On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2012 and in line with the topic of CSW56, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is inviting organisations to sign onto this statement on Improving the Human Security of Women in Conflict Zones. The statement has direct relevance to many IANSA women around the world through the link between UN SCR 1325 and our focus on increasing the ability of rural women to participate in matters relating to small arms control and gun violence prevention.

The IANSA Women’s Network has signed onto the statement and invites members and friends around the world to do the same. This statement is being updated with signatures on a daily basis in the lead up to International Women's Day on 8 March 2012. If your organisation would like to sign the statement please email Gesa Bent (g.bent@conflict-prevention.net) and Sophie Schellens (s.schellens@conflict-prevention.net)

A Call to Improve the Human Security of Women in Conflict Zones: Enhancing Access to Policy Processes and Decision Making

The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women has chosen to focus on rural women. This is a politically active and engaged, yet still vulnerable group who face enduring challenges to their human security as emphasized in Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). While CSW56 emphasizes the important role of economic empowerment in improving the lives and livelihoods of rural women, we believe that efforts in economic empowerment should link to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security which highlights the underused potential of women in resolving and preventing conflict at the local level.

Considering the consequences of conflict on the human security of rural women, we call for their active inclusion in all peacebuilding and conflict prevention initiatives through:

Full participation of rural women in all decision-making processes on peace and security, from local communities to global policy processes.

UNSCR 1325 calls for increased participation of women at all levels of decision-making in conflict resolution and peace processes. Building on the potential of rural women to improve their human security through active involvement within policy processes and political decision-making is a precondition for achieving lasting peace and security.

Prioritisation of portraying women's active agency in peacebuilding and conflict resolution by all relevant stakeholders.

An open acknowledgement by all stakeholders of the proactive roles played by rural women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding paves the way for increased opportunities for women to access policy processes and articulate their human security needs.

Implementation of gender-sensitive security measures developed together with rural women.

A precondition for societal participation and economic empowerment is the implementation of gender-sensitive security measures, which address the basic human need of feeling safe. The guarantee of basic elements of human security – freedom from fear, and freedom from want – , is crucial for the advancement of rural women.

Enhancing decision-making on peace and security with the perspectives of rural women means enhancing Human Security For All.

The statement and updated signatory list is online at: https://www.peaceportal.org/web/taking-women-beyond-1325/home1